County approves plan for growth between Blackfalds and Lacombe

Lacombe County council has approved a plan to guide development along the west side of Hwy 2 between Blackfalds and Lacombe.

Lacombe County council has approved a plan to guide development along the west side of Hwy 2 between Blackfalds and Lacombe.

Growing demand for industrial and commercial development along the busy highway corridor prompted the county’s Highway 2 West Area Structure Plan, said county planner and development officer Anita O’Driscoll at a public hearing on Thursday.

There was considerable local interest in the plan, which was the subject of three public meetings, and about a dozen people attended the hearing at Lacombe County’s offices. Among issues raised previously were the size of the plan area and its potential impact on existing and future agricultural operations.

The plan calls for a phased approach to commercial and industrial development, which will be restricted to nodes just west of the towns of Blackfalds and Lacombe. Development outside of these identified areas will not be allowed until 75 per cent of the developable area within each node has been used up.

Developments must also be compatible with surrounding land uses and a set of site development guidelines has been established.

New confined feeding operations will not be allowed within the two development nodes.

Existing operations — and there is one in each node — will be allowed to expand if approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Board.

Also built into the plan are traffic impact reviews at various stages of development build-out. Each proposed development must also undertake its own traffic impact assessment.

All existing land uses allowed in the county’s agricultural district and its municipal development plan remain unaffected.

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